Big Help Coming for Millions of Student Loan Borrowers

Retroactive help is on the way from the federal government
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2022 2:03 AM CDT
Updated Apr 20, 2022 7:04 AM CDT
Feds Making a Big Move on Student Loan Debt
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during a visit with first lady Jill Biden to Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J., Jan. 20, 2022.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

After years of lawsuits and pressure from lawmakers, activists, and others, the US Department of Education will offer retroactive assistance to millions of borrowers who utilized income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. Among those raising awareness of the issue was NPR, which this month released an investigation revealing how the plans, which were meant to help low-income student loan borrowers, were mismanaged such that many who qualified to have their loans forgiven never actually saw them forgiven. The Education Department will also use one-time waivers and adjustments to offer retroactive credit to borrowers requesting loan elimination under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, the New York Times reports.

"Student loans were never meant to be a life sentence, but it’s certainly felt that way for borrowers locked out of debt relief they’re eligible for. Today, the Department of Education will begin to remedy years of administrative failures that effectively denied the promise of loan forgiveness to certain borrowers," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. More than 40,000 borrowers will see their loans forgiven, authorities say, though loan cancellations won't officially begin until the fall. Millions more will receive months' or years' worth of credits toward eventual loan cancellation. The changes will take place automatically. NPR has the details on what to expect here. (More student loans stories.)

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